From a Whisper to a Scream (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Jun 28, 2023
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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From a Whisper to a Scream (Blu-ray Review)


Jeff Burr

Release Date(s)

1987 (October 7, 2022)


Conquest Productions/Whisper Scream (Turbine Medien)
  • Film/Program Grade: B
  • Video Grade: B+
  • Audio Grade: B+
  • Extras Grade: A+


[Editor's Note: This is a Region Free German Blu-ray import.]

Most horror films released during the 1980s, especially slashers, came under the censorship knife heavily and often, which is why it’s remarkable that a film like From a Whisper to a Scream (aka The Offspring, as it was titled for its original theatrical release), a horror anthology with a consistently dark tone and sometimes excessive gore, managed to escape the MPAA relatively unscathed. It’s a powerful and somewhat unnerving film at times, especially concerning the first and last stories, both of which involve murdering innocent women and children, but it also has a twisted humorous tone as well, not unlike the Tales from the Crypt series that would soon follow.

On the night of the execution of his niece Katherine (Martine Beswick), Oldfield, Tennessee historian Julian White (Price) recalls four stories to a reporter (Susan Tyrrell) that take place in the town from different eras, insisting that the town itself is inherently evil. In Stanley, the titular loner (Clu Gulager) lives a lonely life with his ill sister, but when he attempts to date someone, his sexually-driven murderous instincts kick in. In On the Run, Jesse (Terry Kiser) is wounded by gangsters over gambling debts and taken in by a man named Felder (Harry Caesar), who nurses him back to health. Jesse later learns that Felder practices voodoo and may have discovered the key to immortality, which he’ll do anything to learn himself. In Lovecraft’s Traveling Amusements, a forbidden love affair at a carnival is cursed by a voodoo snakewoman (Rosalind Cash), leading to tragedy. In Four Soldiers, a group of American Civil War soldiers, led by Sgt. Gallen (Cameron Mitchell), are taken hostage by a group of murderous orphaned children.

The primary reason that From a Whisper to a Scream has stuck around is due to the presence of Vincent Price, which likely helped bring in an audience of people that might not have come to the see the film otherwise. It’s no secret that he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the film once it was released and regretted doing it in the first place. Yet according to those who worked on it, he never showed any kind of contempt on set and was very professional. As for the other actors, Cameron Mitchell is surprisingly effective, giving a very chilling and underappreciated performance... but nobody in the cast tops Clu Gulager, who is absolutely disturbing as a sex-starved incestial necrophiliac.

What From a Whisper to a Scream ultimately represents is a group of talented filmmakers coming together to put on a show. His first professional film, writer and director Jeff Burr went on to make Stepfather II, Night of the Scarecrow, and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, the latter of which he received an inordinate amount of flak for at the time of its release. Also among the crew are C. Courtney Joyner, an author and filmmaker who worked on a number of Full Moon Features projects; Darin Scott, who would go on to work on Menace II Society and co-write Tales from the Hood; and David Del Valle, close friend of Vincent Price who’s also an author and audio commentating extraordinaire. All of this talent in front of and behind the camera converged to make a tough, but quality horror film. Such visceral experiences in cinema are hard to come by, and in that sense, From a Whisper to a Scream delivers.

From a Whisper to a Scream was shot by director of photography Craig Greene on 35 mm film, finished photochemically, and presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Turbine Medien presents the film in a deluxe 4-Disc Mediabook release, featuring the same presentation as Scream Factory’s previous Blu-ray release from 2015, which is likely a 2K scan of the film’s interpositive. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray was a little problematic in terms of compression, which Turbine’s release improves upon. Grain is more natural, though definitely high, and the disc is coded at a much higher bitrate. It also retains the film’s lush color palette with fairly deep black levels, though a scan of the camera negative would definitely improve things. It also helps that the lengthier bonus materials are presented on separate discs, giving the presentation more room to breathe, unlike the Scream Factory release. I wouldn’t be surprised if a 4K Ultra HD release of the film is somewhere around the corner, but for now, this is the best that the film looks on optical disc.

Audio is included in English or German 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, German, and German SDH. On the English track, dialogue is always clean and clear, but both sound effects and score sometimes jockey for position in the mix, with the score often losing out. Some of the sound effects are slightly dated at times, but overall, this is a very good track with no major issues.

From a Whisper to a Scream on Region Free Blu-ray sits in Mediabook packaging in four different covers alongside three other discs, including additional Blu-rays devoted to additional extras, a set of short films, and a CD soundtrack. Inside is a 40-page booklet entitled Tales from Oldfield, Tennessee, which features notes from Jeff Burr in both German and English, various photos, and each disc’s contents:


  • Introduction by Jeff Burr (HD – 1:47)
  • Audio Commentary with Jeff Burr
  • Audio Commentary with Darin Scott and C. Courtney Joyner
  • Audio Commentary with David Del Valle and Mike Malone
  • Isolated Music & Effects Audio Track
  • From a Whisper to a Scream US Trailer (SD – 1:52)
  • The Offspring US TV Spots (Upscaled SD – 4 in all – 2:13)
  • The Offspring US Trailer (HD – 1:00)
  • From a Whisper to a Scream German Video Trailer (SD – 1:41)


  • Open Matte Version (SD – 99:33)
  • Return to Oldfield: Making From a Whisper to a Scream (HD – 117:11)
  • Still Gallery with Introduction and Commentary by Jeff Burr (HD – 293 in all – 10:17)
  • A Decade Under the Innocence: Adventures in Super 8 Filmmaking (HD – 81:27)


  • 8 mm: Early Work (1974-1980)
    • Introduction (HD – 1:07)
    • Teenage Fright (1974) (SD – 6:22)
    • Agent 005 (1976) (SD – 24:54)
    • Life Is Semi-Precious (1978) (SD – 65:30)
    • Life Is Semi-Precious Trailer (1978) (SD – :33)
    • Sorcerer’s Duel (1978) (SD – 13:22)
    • Let Us Prey (1979) (SD – 25:02)
    • How I Spent My Summer Vacation (1980) (SD – 30:33)
  • 8 mm: Film School (1981)
    • Wipeout (SD – 11:23)
    • The Spoils (SD – 9:32)
    • Turnaround (SD – 7:22)
    • Child’s Play (SD – 6:30)
  • 16 mm: Divide We Fall (1982)
    • Introduction (HD – 2:27)
    • 16x9 Version (HD – 26:27)
    • 4x3 Version (HD – 26:30)
    • Behind the Scenes (HD – 11:03)


  1. The Opening (2:02)
  2. Shall We Dance (1:32)
  3. Main Title (2:43)
  4. On the Hook (1:36)
  5. Stanley (2:04)
  6. Stanley and Son (1:50)
  7. Jesse’s Boat Ride (1:39)
  8. Jesse Snoops (1:28)
  9. Felder’s Joy Juice (2:54)
  10. Jesse Cue (1:29)
  11. Jesse Cue 2 (1:35)
  12. Boat Panic (:35)
  13. Boat Panic 2 (:32)
  14. Where Is It (1:15)
  15. Jesse Gets the Axe (:40)
  16. Jesse Finale (:36)
  17. The Tears You Weep and the Blood You Shed (2:47)
  18. Screwy Fingers (1:07)
  19. Steven Explodes (1:10)
  20. Like a Faucet (:51)
  21. Ami the Pin Cushion (:57)
  22. Run (:14)
  23. Harmonica (:52)
  24. Civil War (:23)
  25. Civil War 2 (1:51)
  26. Civil War 3 (:24)
  27. Civil War 4 (:24)
  28. Civil War Drums (:19)
  29. Gallen and Amanda (2:16)
  30. Gallen Cons Amanda (2:17)
  31. Gallen Cons Amanda 2 (:43)
  32. Tension the Magistrate (2:06)
  33. Tension the Magistrate 2 (:49)
  34. Gallen Flambe (1:35)
  35. Welcome to Oldfield (1:35)
  36. End Credits Main Theme (2:43)

Not only does this release carry over all of the material from the Scream Factory Blu-ray, but adds a substantial amount to it as well, all of it English-friendly with optional German and English subtitles. On the first disc is the 2015 audio commentary with Jeff Burr, which is a breathless track. Even though he’s flying solo, he never falters and provides a wealth of information about the film. Next is the other 2015 audio commentary with co-writer and producer Darin Scott and co-writer C. Courtney Joyner, which is a little more comedic, but equally entertaining and informative. New to the table is a 2021 audio commentary between casting director David Del Valle and co-writer Mike Malone. It’s always a treat to hear David discuss any given subject, and he dominates the commentary, occasionally allowing Malone to get a word in edge-wise. (In all seriousness, it’s another fun commentary.) Also new is a brief introduction that opens the disc by Jeff Burr. In addition to the From a Whisper to a Scream trailer and The Offspring TV spots, Turbine adds in The Offspring trailer (minus the audio, which couldn’t be located) and a From a Whisper to a Scream German home video trailer.

The second disc contains an open matte VHS transfer of the film, as well as two excellent documentaries produced by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures. The first is Return to Oldfield, which chronicles the making of the film with members of the cast and crew, and A Decade Under the Innocence, which discusses Jeff Burr’s days as an amateur filmmaker. The Still Gallery is a collection of stills that contain various “ephemera,” as Jeff Burr puts it, who provides an introduction and commentary set to stills of behind the scenes photos, storyboards, studio rejection letters, newspaper clippings, posters, home video artwork, and other miscellaneous bits. The third disc contains several of Jeff Burr’s amateur films, which he shot as a child and a teenager, but also while in film school. He provides occasional introductions, and for one in particular, also showcases some silent behind the scenes footage. Last is a CD soundtrack containing 36 of the film’s music cues, composed by Jim Manzie.

Scream Factory’s release of From a Whisper to a Scream upped the ante for the film on home video, and Turbine Medien’s Mediabook release blows past it. It’s a wonderful release that, if you’re a fan of it or horror films in general, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons


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